It’s no secret that Google is everyone’s go-to search engine because it puts users first. That’s why Google rolls out new features all the time: to deliver more value and cement its place in the market.
Featured Snippets are one of these great innovations from Google that consumers love. Although they’ve been around since 2014, many brands are still wondering how they can score a much-coveted Featured Snippet and all the web traffic that comes with it.
What are Featured Snippets?
A Featured Snippet is a small box that appears at the top of some Google results. Featured Snippets are intended to be a short, fast answer to user queries so people can get the information they need without clicking through to a website. To fill the boxes, Google pulls information directly from sites on page 1 of the SERP.
What’s great about Featured Snippets is that they display above the organic search results, which is why experts refer to Featured Snippets as place #0 on the SERP.
Featured Snippets usually show up for long-tail queries that are question-oriented. They often display not just a text answer, but also an image or a video to accompany that answer.
Although Featured Snippets give users a quick answer without the need to click through, many users do click through on a Featured Snippet to get in-depth information. The result is more eyes on your site for zero added effort.
Types of Featured Snippets
There are three types of Featured Snippets. You’ll need a basic understanding of these snippets to optimize your site.
Paragraph snippets are also called definition snippets. They’re the most popular type of Featured Snippet and display a quick answer in paragraph form. Paragraph snippets usually fall in the 40 – 60 word range and explain what, how, why, or when for users based on their query.
Table snippets display data pulled from a table on a webpage. This is best used to display data like pricing, a timeline, rates, or any other type of numerical data.
Google will display either an ordered or unordered list as a Featured Snippet. Ordered lists are best for step by step instructions, like how-to guides or recipes. Unordered lists are used to list items that don’t need to be in a particular order, like a list of gift ideas.
By the way, Google often displays images and video to accompany Featured Snippets. However, the text source and image or video source will often be from different webpages. That means your brand can rank either through text or media for a Featured Snippet.
How Featured Snippets Affect SEO
It takes a lot of time and effort to optimize for a Featured Snippet. That’s why it’s important to understand why a Featured Snippet is worth it for your brand. Your SEO stands to win in 3 ways when you pursue a Featured Snippet.
1. Out-rank the #1 spot
Don’t have the #1 spot in the SERP? No problem. Featured Snippets display above the organic SERP listings, landing you in a slot above the #1 organic listing. Featured Snippets get more traffic than the #1 spot, which means they’re a perfect way to get more traffic without being the top dog for a keyword.
2. Appeal to voice search users
50% of all search engine queries will be done with voice in 2020. Since 2020 is just a few months away, that means brands with Featured Snippets will be on top for voice search.
Why? Because many voice assistants pull their answers from the Featured Snippets section of Google. Since users only get to hear one answer with a voice search, that means Featured Snippets are critical to showing up for voice search users.
3. Get more engagement
The purpose of SEO is getting more engagement on your website. Featured Snippets highlight you as an expert and authority in your field, which is great for brand exposure. When you set your sights on earning more and more Featured Snippets, your brand will grow exponentially over time—for zero dollars.
3 Tips to Optimize for Featured Snippets
Featured Snippets are coveted for one big reason: you can’t game the system. Google fills in these Featured Snippets programmatically and you can’t pay to earn a Featured Snippet. There’s no exact formula for landing a Featured Snippet, but you can optimize in 3 ways to increase your chances of earning one.
1. Be on the SERP first page
You need to be on the first page of the SERP to stand a chance of winning a Featured Snippet. That’s because Google pulls 99% of all Featured Snippet answers from the top 10 ranking websites on the SERP.
Most brands are already striving to be on the top page of Google. If you aren’t there already, focus on improving your ranking to score a Featured Snippet. This includes white hat SEO practices like improving the user experience, writing better content, and optimizing your site for speed.
2. Target the right keywords
Like all things in SEO, Featured Snippets depend on how well you marry keywords with your content.
It all starts with choosing the right keywords. The best way to find good keywords is to see which keywords are already ranking for a Featured Snippet.
You can do this work manually by searching for each keyword in Google, or with tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs. Either way, make sure you note which keywords have a Featured Snippet and which type of featured snippet it displays (paragraph, table, or list). This will affect how you optimize your own site to score a Featured Snippet.
Remember, most users are searching for long-tail keywords that end in a question. You can use tools like Answer the Public to see which questions people are asking around a certain topic. It’s a great way to identify missed keywords that even your competitors aren’t targeting.
3. Watch your formatting
While keywords and content quality matter for Featured Snippets, formatting matters, too. You want to make it as easy as possible for Google to programmatically find your content, and that means proper formatting is key.
What kind of Featured Snippet do you want to earn? For example, if your target keyword qualifies for a paragraph Featured Snippet, add a 40-60 word quick answer at the top of your content. If you want to rank for a table, create a simple table on your webpage that Google can pull and present in a Featured Snippet. For lists, lay out your content using tags like H1, H2, H3, and so on. Content hierarchy makes it easier to display different items in a list to search engine users.
The Bottom Line
There’s no magic formula for Featured Snippets, but you can follow these 3 strategies to increase your chances of appearing in spot #0. Even if you don’t score a Featured Snippet tomorrow, your users will still appreciate improved intent, great content, and better formatting. Give users what they need and Google will reward your efforts in time.
Want to speed things up? Give Logical Media Group a call. Our experts know SEO and we can help you optimize for Featured Snippets.